• 7 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf, Sanctions

Sources confirming Dennis Ross appointment as Iran envoy

dennis-rossAccording to Marc Ambinder, transition officials are confirming now that Dennis Ross will be appointed as the chief envoy to Iran under President Obama.

Though it’s not official until the administration announces it formally, this is looking like a done deal.  Ross is best known for his work as chief negotiator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under President Clinton.  But for many Iran analysts, the choice of Ross as special envoy is very concerning.

Ross was a principal signer of the infamous Bipartisan Policy Center report.  Among the greatest hits from that report are:

“To build additional leverage, states and international organizations should apply both unilateral and multilateral sanctions before and during any diplomatic rapprochement.”

“Should diplomatic engagement not achieve its objectives within the set timeframe, the next President must turn to more intensive sanctions.”

“We believe a military strike is a feasible option and must remain a last resort to retard Iran’s nuclear development.”

“There are two aspects to the military option: boosting our diplomatic leverage leading up to and during negotiations, and preparing for kinetic action. For either objective, the United States will need to augment its military presence in the region. This should commence the first day the new President enters office, especially as the Islamic Republic and its proxies might seek to test the new administration. It would involve pre-positioning additional U.S. and allied forces, deploying additional aircraft carrier battle groups and minesweepers, emplacing other war materiel in the region, including additional missile defense batteries, upgrading both regional facilities and allied militaries, and expanding strategic partnerships with countries north of Iran such as Azerbaijan and Georgia in order to maintain operational pressure from all directions.”

Also, Ross is a co-founder of United Against Nuclear Iran, which is an organization that, strangely enough, is for absolutely nothing but very strongly against Iran.  UANI has recently taken to sending Christmas cards to Ahmadinejad in a grassroots campaign that some would consider less than completely “diplomatic.”  I’m concerned that this might not necessarily be the most tactful introduction for our first direct representative to Iranian negotiators in thirty years…

My biggest fear is that, as he has suggested (and as Chairman Howard Berman repeated on a recent trip to Israel), Ross couldbegin negotiations with Iran with a clear and arbitrary deadline in mind.  When his clock runs out without an agreement, should the US declare the talks a failure and move onto what he calls “more intensive sanctions?”   As I’ve said before, talks take time.  Appointing an envoy that imposes a time limit on diplomacy is just asking for trouble.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    One Response to “Sources confirming Dennis Ross appointment as Iran envoy”

  1. Mojgan says:

    This is too disturbing. What could NIAC , any Iranian or just any concern person do to voice string disagreement with any military action against Iran?
    Thank you

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Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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